Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

May 2013

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We live in unprecedented economic times.  There is little room for a smart business to error – yours or your clients. To be the provider of choice for your clients – and capture those precious dollars – it’s crucial for you to stand out among the crowd. There is where a thorough competitive analysis helps you shine.

Done right, a competitive analysis provides insight into vital information to help your business:

Be Seen: A clear impassioned statement of the product or service mix you offer, as demonstrated by your value proposition, makes it easier for clients to find you.

Be Different: With all the competition, your clients are going to select the products or services that are clear and easy to understand.  When given several choices, knowing what you delivery and how you’re different from others in your field, makes it easier for clients to choose you.

Be Known: Your market position makes it simple for clients to find and hire you once they hear and understand your reputation.

Be Relevant: With the business continually changing, clients needs and desires change, too. Products and/or services must be continually developed or realigned to prevent obsolescence and remain relevant to the needs and desires of your clients.

Be Tuned-In:  When you’re tuned-in to your clients and are able to speak directly to their needs, you build trust and credibility which makes it painless for client to hire you.

Be Strong: Once a client has found you, makes sure you’re easy to do business with by having your internal operations strong and running smoothly.  Make it easy for clients to hire you – and stay with you for an extended period.

Conducting a competitive analysis is not for the faint of heart, yet it’s one of the beneficial pieces of business development for your business to remain a vital player in your industry.

Ready to get analyzing? Download Stand Out in a Crowd: The Entrepreneurs Guide to a Competitive Analysis here.

Additional blog posts we think you’ll like:

Nine Steps to Building Trust Online and Offline

A Strategic Coaching Approach to Business Competition

The Places Your Small Business Can Grow

10 Questions Entrepreneurs Can Ask to Focus Their Vision

Say “Heck Yeah” to Growing Your Business

Get more done in less time is a well-known concept that deserves challenging! Somehow, this theory seems to suggest that “getting more done” aligns with small business performance and obtaining your goals. As an already overwhelmed entrepreneur, do you really want to get more done in less time, or do you want to get the right things done in less time?

Uncover the Right Things

Doing the right things in less time is how to achieve small business performance. Identifying the right things, however, is a small business entrepreneur’s greatest challenge.

Every day, advancements in technology and information add layers of unnecessary complexity to our business. In fact, Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, noted that more information is created in two days than the total amount of information produced since the dawn of mankind. Yikes! Minus a watchful eye, it’s easy to see how such needless complication distracts even the most diligent entrepreneur from focusing on the right things.

Like penetrating the hard lollipop exterior of a tootsie pop to get to the gooey, chocolaty tootsie roll neatly tucked inside, we need a smart, yet simple, small business performance strategy to crack this nut.

Stop Accomplishing. Start Achieving.

There’s a slight, but critical, distinction between accomplish and achieve. Although used interchangeably, they actually have very distinct connotations.

Achieve is defined as ‘bring to a successful conclusion; reach a goal’. Accomplish means ‘to succeed in doing’. Accomplish is about getting things done; achieve gets the right things done. By examining the definitions with your entrepreneurial critical analysis skill set, its easy to see how one can get things done (i.e. accomplish)  yet still not reach your goals (i.e. achieve). By concentrating your efforts on achieving, your focus is on getting the right things done.

Don’t overly complicate your business. Multiple initiatives burden you and your small business. Select the most important initiatives that contribute directly to your small business goals and invest your resources there.

Eliminate that which is not producing results. Simplify. Free up the time, and more importantly the mental space, to clearly realize the right things to get done for your small business to achieve.

Small business performance is not found in getting more done in less time – it’s found in getting the right things done.

Now, let’s get out there and do the right thing!

Related Blog Posts:

Say “Heck Yeah” to Growing Your Business

Don’t Have Time to Do Things Right the First Time?

10 Things a Solopreneur Can Do Without

4 Must Do’s for Entrepreneurs to Achieve a Networking ROI

How to Overcome Overwhelm and Grow Your Business


It’s not the big things spoiling your small business growth; it’s the small, seemingly insignificant assumptions that are painfully stalling growth for many entrepreneurs. Although some assumptions play a valuable role in growing a business – like the ones you need when making financial projections – most assumptions are unwarranted.

Assumptions create illusions viewed as the truth. They direct our decisions and influence how and if a business grows. Are any of these assumptions thwarting your business growth?

  1. Client work always comes first.
  2. I always have to be available – just in case someone needs me.
  3. Everyone is my “target audience”.
  4. I can’t afford to hire the kind of quality employee I’d like.
  5. I can’t disconnect from email on weekends.
  6. I can’t find time for “strategic thinking”.
  7. If I ask for help, it’s a sign of weakness.
  8. If I charge what I want or request compensation for work beyond the original scope of work, I’ll lose the client.

Break Through Assumptions

Assumptions are difficult to identify. They come to the party masquerading as truth and reason. To unmask these culprits, consider these two tips:

1. Cultivate Awareness. Before assuming what assumptions you hold dear to your heart, develop insight into your default beliefs. When you sense a desire to “push back” against an idea or want to exclaim, “that’s baloney!” it’s likely an assumption worthy of questioning is knocking at your door.

2. Challenge Assumptions. When an assumption reare its ugly head, dispute the belief by asking “what if”. Asking “what if” uncovers the real reason behind the assumption. It helps you get at the truth and develop beliefs that are more accurate.

According to wikipedia, when we assume, “it makes an a** out of you and me”. Frankly, that’s the least of my worries! I’d rather be an a** than out of business.

What assumptions do you need to challenge?

While we’re on the subject, read on:

Getting Past Your Fears and Growing a Successful Business

Overcome Underpricing, & its Evil Twin, Underearning in Small Business

Betting on Business Growth? Don’t Snub the Importance of Planning

Sound Off: Can Your Small Business Succeed on a 25-hour Workweek?

It Takes a Village To Run a Successful Business

I’ll always remember my first marathon. Although I had trained and prepared extensively, I was really quite anxious. With 25,000 runners surrounding me, my confidence – and my juices – started to flow. The starting bell rang and the quick pace instantly swept me along. Big mistake! I was moving too fast. I needed to find my pace – and run my race – if I was going to finish strong.

Nerves cause many runners to leave the starting gate too quickly. As a result, they overextend energy early and don’t have any oomph left when they reach mile 20. Commonly referred to as “the wall”, mile 20 is the point in the marathon when the energy within the runner’s muscles is depleted. This forces a runner to slow their pace considerable, sometimes to a walk.

To avoid “hitting the wall”, runners use a very simple, but effective, tool called pacing. Marathon pacing, running a consistent, pre-determined speed throughout the entirety of a marathon, ensures the runner has plenty of spunk to finish.

Growing a small business is allot like running a marathon. If you “go out” too quickly, you can hit a wall when you run out of energy, hope, time, resources, or guts.

What’s the best pace of growth for your small business? That depends. Just like the many factors that determine the best marathon pace for you, there are many elements to consider when deciding on the best pace of growth for your business.

There is one small point to consider, however. Although most entrepreneurs would consider a 15% annual growth rate paltry and mediocre (sort of like my marathon pace), a business can double in size in approximately five years. Impressive, isn’t it.

Just like it’s important to run your own race, it’s equally important to find your own pace to grow your business.

The biggest challenge plaguing small businesses growth is the lack of focused time to tackle high priority development projects. With a moderate of uninterrupted time, you can get to the projects that move the needle and grow your business.

The first step to create more focused time is to eliminate that which does not contribute to growth yet eats up your time. Here are just a few options to consider along with alternate behavior so you won’t miss out.

E-newsletters (except mine :-D)

  • Alternate: Go online to find the information you need when you need it.

Social media notifications

  • Alternate: Visit the social media sites and respond to comments, tweets, and messages when most convenient for you.

Face-to-face meetings

  • Alternate: Skype or Google chat
High consumption Appointments
  • Alternate: Schedule half the time needed. Everyone is more focused.
Interruptions and distractions including a ringing phone, email, people walking into your office, text messages
  • Alternate: Turn off the ringer on your phone. Lock your smartphone in a drawer. Close your email program. Put out the “Do Not Disturb” sign. Schedule 20 minutes each hour and respond to voicemail, texts, email, and requests.
That’s it! Simple, right? You may find it easier said than done. Changing well-worn habits takes practice. However, with a little focused time, you can move mountains in your business.

Ready? Set? Grow!

Read on:

10 Tips for Enterpreneurs to Achieve Work-Life Balance

Can Your Small Business Succeed on 25-hour Workweek?

Rising Above Roadblocks to Strategic Planning: The Mind Space

Five Steps to Better Manage Your Goals

Business moves quickly and when it does, you need to be ready. That’s why many small business entrepreneurs turn to a business strategist. A small business strategist gives small businesses an edge that helps them grow more quickly.

If you’ve never collaborated with a small business strategist or coach, it’s exciting to consider how your small business benefits. Here are a few perks to expect:

1. Keep you laser-focused. You have allot going on throughout your small business. It’s easy to lose sight of your primary focus and get derailed from your key goal. Your small business strategist cuts through the clutter to keep your vision sharp.

2. Inform you of the latest trends. It’s tough enough to keep up with the latest developments in your business. It’s nearly impossible to stay tuned in to business trends. Your small business strategist keeps you up-to-date on research and trends in business to save you time and lower your learning curve.

3. Identify missed opportunities. When you’re in the middle of your workday, critical opportunities that bridge the gap between success and struggle are often overlooked. Your small business strategist points out unnoticed opportunities to make the most of your business outlook.

4. Provide feedback for growth – personally and professionally. Your small business is your baby. Just as every parent believes their baby is the cutest (despite those enormous ears), business objectivity is difficult to come by. Your small business strategist foresees the possibilities to become all you desire – and more.

5. Create a vacuum that pulls you forward. You can’t grow your small business in a vacuum. Your small business strategist advances your resources, skills, and knowledge more quickly so your business can flourish.

Want to know what it’s like to work with a Business Strategist for your small business?

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Growing your small business wasn’t intended to be chaotic, confusing, overwhelming, and stressful. You dreamt that small business ownership would be fun, exciting, thrilling, rewarding, and would grow like a weed. What happened?! It all started when you said, “yes” to conventional wisdom.

small business growing painsSmall business owners say “yes” more than is necessary to grow their business. Too often small business entrepreneurs say “yes” because conventional wisdom dictates certain actions to succeed in business.

For instance, conventional wisdom says that you should subscribe to e-newsletters to keep up-to-the-minute with the latest and greatest in your industry. Although it’s exciting and may feel necessary to have this information at your disposal, it actually inundates your inbox, pulls you off course, and distracts you from your primary focus.

Conventional wisdom nudges you to attend networking events or join networking groups. While this may be a successful tactic for some industries, when you know your ideal client won’t be attending, why continue to follow conventional wisdom? The same advice pertains to joining a local Chamber of Commerce. At one time, a chamber membership was invaluable for growing business but they have since lost their relevance for small business.

Equally astonishing is when we continue to execute actions that clearly aren’t generating results – because conventional business wisdom instructs you to do so. “Yes” is uttered much too often to conventional wisdom.

Saying “yes” adds a level of complexity to your business that makes your business harder to manage. Complexity creates unnecessary confusion and chaos. As a result, we’re many times overwhelmed and stressed with all we have to do – little of which will actually help us grow. Most importantly, when focus diffuses, business growth slows.

Are you ready to make “no” your default response to conventional wisdom and its subsequent complexity? Keep your business clean, lean, nimble, and on the grow.

Not sure what actions deserve a “yes” and which ones warrant a “no”? I’m happy to help streamline your business so you can grow more quickly.

Your day is in full swing. You’ve downed several cups of coffee in hopes to set fire to your brain. You’ve moved papers from one side of your desk to the other and onto the floor in neat stacks (for the fourth time). If you work from a home office, you’re in your PJ’s with your hair sporting the latest “bed-head” style. Is this how you ignite performance in your small business?

As much as you love to believe that being a “go with the flow” person is the key to small business performance, you discover that your “flow” has changed course. It’s no longer moving in the direction of the goals you’ve set for your business.

Let’s face it — a little structure in a small business, in addition to being a character-developing experience, ensures your small business performs as you intend. Here are a few simple strategies to jump-start your small business performance and keep you headed in the right direction.

  1. Start each day on the right track. Jot down your goal – not your to do’s. If your goal doesn’t quickly and easily come to mind, try a little Solution on the Fly.
  2. Note THE most important activity that contributes directly to your goals. Not 3 or 5 – just one. Let’s not complicate things.
  3. Resist the lure of projects or activities not on your priority list. It delays goal achievement.
  4. Don’t let the priorities of others become yours. Not an easy task but with practice comes perfection.
  5. Dump behaviors and plans not producing results, even if conventional wisdom says otherwise. Continuing unproductive activities is the definition of insanity – and it’s pointless.

Take charge of your small business performance. Don’t get sidetracked. Small business performance = goal achievement. You have more control over your performance – and that of your small business – than you think.

Other Ways to Improve Performance:

The New Killer Email App for Entrepreneurs: YOU

13 Tips for Making Time Work for You

5 Ways to Get More Done

Small Business Advice on Time Saving Technology

Declutter Your Task List

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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